Blog the Vote, Day 1: Here we go again


And here we go again. The most wonderful time of the year is finally upon us—the University Students’ Council presidential elections, of course.

But this ain’t your average USC presidential election. This is a newly renovated and student council-approved election. What, you ask, is so improved? Well, this year our humble votes not only decide the future of one individual but three. Confused? Well let me clear it up.

As we previously reported, this year the USC elections have undergone a makeover. Instead of merely voting for the USC president, instead we will be voting for a slate, which includes a USC presidential candidate, a vice-president external candidate and a vice-president internal candidate. All this USC jargon may seem foreign to the average student—VP internal(?), VP external(??), president(?!?)—but for now just think of the VPs as running mates. It’ll be easier for all of us that way.

And now that I’ve cleared that up, it’s time for the more riveting material—your 2013 USC elections’ candidates.

The Candidates

Team Patrick Whelan
Presidential candidate: Patrick Whelan

Patrick WhelanWith a resume stacked with USC experience, Whelan has probably been itching to run for president for quite some time—and now it’s his chance. The current student senator-at-large has also been a social science councillor, as well as the provincial affairs commissioner under the university affairs portfolio. Whelan has dipped his toes in many USC fields and will likely stand out with his extensive knowledge and passion for the USC. But will Whelan be able to identify with the average student who may lack an inside understanding of the USC?

VP External candidate Amir Eftekharpour
served as the USC ChangeCamp Coordinator this year under the UA portfolio.

Amir Eftekharpour






VP Internal candidate Sam Krishnapillai is a currently a faculty of health sciences councillor, as well as the Health and Wellness Coordinator.

Sam Krishnapillai


Team Vivek Prahbu
Presidential candidate: Vivek Prahbu

Vivek PrabhuPrahbu comes into this race holding the current presidential position of Huron University College Students’ Council. If you’re Prahbu, you’re probably clinging to the phrase “history repeats itself” since the last time a person who held the office of Huron president ran for USC president, he won (hint: it was Adam Fearnall). But previous trends aside, look for Prahbu to rely on the affiliate voice to build a strong campaign. But the question remains, can he steer the main campus voters?


VP External candidate Amy Wood is a King’s student who currently holds the position of External Affairs Coordinator and last year was the vice-president student issues for the King’s University Student Council.

Amy Wood






VP Internal candidate Dan Bain is currently a social science councillor.







Team Ashley McGuire
Presidential candidate: Ashley McGuire

Ashley McGuireMcGuire, a current student senator-at-large and former social science president certainly has a wealth of experience in all things USC, just like her competitors. McGuire seems genuinely energetic and permanently smiling, and her small-town-girl demeanor could prove to be appealing to voters. And McGuire, too, has political history on her side, as two of the last four USC presidents have been former social science presidents. Could her USC know-how paired with her charismatic personality be a lethal combo?


VP Internal candidate Blake Barkley is a current student senator representing the faculty of social science and the faculty of media and information studies. He is also a former social science councillor.

Blake Barkley






VP External candidate Jordan Sojnocki lacks any formal USC experience, although he did serve as an off-campus soph in the past. As well he’s worked in marketing with the Western Mustangs and Bud Gardens.

Jordan Sojnocki





The Launch

Team McGuire

12:00 a.m.

Though it might have been a whole minute earlier than what was announced, McGuire won the Twitter race being the first candidate to post her official announcement of candidacy, as well as mention for her VPs and a plug for her website, obviously. Oh and don’t forget the standard #voteashley hashtag. Although McGuire’s team seems to have opted to not create a joint Twitter account and instead are relying solely on each individual account to sway voters. A costly mistake? We’ll find out.

And while briefly I was distracted by the onslaught of #voteashley hashtags popping up, I did take a gander at the team’s website While I’m only now giving my brief initial reactions, I will say team McGuire’s website presents easy navigation and provides a bevy of information including bios, platform promises and, of course, the campaign video (warning: this video could give you a serious case of blast-from-the-past). It chalks up to be the standard campaign website with all the flattering colour-coordinated photos and bright-coloured fonts we have come to expect from our prospective candidates. Also, her colour is blue for anyone who cares.


Team Momentum

12:01 a.m.

Next we were introduced to Western Momentum, otherwise known as Vivek’s team. Bold move to assume you have momentum before you’ve even begun campaigning, but who said there’s room for humility in politics, right? With the minute hand one notch east of midnight, Vivek, Amy and Dan changed their collective Twitter pictures to include a #teamviv banner, as well as converting their accent colours to green—the team’s chosen hue. Along with the personal Twitter changes, they also launched their joint account @westernmomentum.

Keeping with the trend, Vivek’s website is and is pretty in your face about being green—the colour, that is, not the environment. Anyway, they also have a fairly well laid-out website, though—and this may be my personal preference—not a fan of having to download your platform as a PDF, Team Momentum. I am still undecided and not sure if I want to commit to downloading your promises just yet.

Much like McGuire’s, the placement of the video is smack-dab in the middle of the website’s homepage just begging to be played. And play it I did. While this is neither the time nor the place for a full review (read: we’ll have a full post later on dedicated to video reviews) I will say catchy song, but I’m not sure what line dancing—I think that’s what they’re doing—has to do with Western.


Team Whelan

12:02: And next to the line was Pat Whelan’s team who, courtesy of their joint twitter handle @VoteTeamWhelan, officially threw their collective hat in the ring. Though a link to their website, was posted on the team’s Twitter bio, a click on it only led to what looked like an unfinished website. Unless of course candidate promises include “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce vestibulum tellus eu urna ultricies hendrerit,” in which case I wish I had studied Latin.

Team Whelan also went against the apparent grain this year and opted not to produce a video that relied heavily on a catchy beat. Instead, they’re hoping you catch the drift of their campaign. While you may not be able to hum along to their video, you will be able to actually meet the potential candidates and hear their vision.

Update: 12:50 a.m. Pat Whelan and team seem to have quickly amended their website and eliminated all traces of Latin and instead filled the pages with information about the candidates and their ideas.


Final Word:

Team McGuire: They gets points for being the first out of the gate, but the lack of a team Twitter account may make developing a unified social media presence difficult. Though with a clean, well-designed website and a creative video to boot, McGuire and her squad seem to have their eyes solely on the prize.

Score: rating35

Team Western Momentum: Daring move going for the assumption of momentum, but I have little qualms with a confident campaign. I’ll have to fault the team though for the least creative and least informative video. Riding the wave of a catchy song has worked in the past, but that’s usually only if your name flawlessly matches the beat. Though the website was sleek and the team appears ready to make a serious bid for office.

Score: rating35

Team Whelan: Although the website seemed to be the shaky leg their campaign was standing on at first glance, all was right by about 12:50 a.m. by my watch. So there’s a technical glitch—whoops! Launching the site still filled with placeholder text certainly isn’t a game changer—not even close—and perhaps it suggests during preparation Team Whelan had their eye on other aspects of the campaign (you know, like a feasible, well-formed platform or something). Although it was rectified in a somewhat timely manner, being the team with the unfinished website at the starting gate creates a picture that they are wobbling, if only slightly, behind the two other teams. However, I will give Team Whelan kudos for the most informative video—providing a taste of your platform right off the bat is wise, especially since this election is, after all, about the campaign.

Score: rating3



  • Brian Belman

    I was curious how each of the teams would choose to brand themselves – campaigning as a team is new to the USC. At Queen’s, the standard is to name the slate by using the candidates initials (for example, Ashley McGuire’s team would be called “team MSB.” ) Interestingly, none of the teams have copied this model but have still all made very different choices to market themselves.

    Ashley’s team seems to focus mostly on Ashley herself, leaving her running mates as an afterthought. This kind of branding is what most Western students are used to so it may turn out to be a good move, however it may end up being confusing to voters.

    Vivek’s team on the other hand is running as a team in the purest sense – other than the #voteviv hashtag, all of their communications seem to be balanced. This may help voters to connect three candidates as a single entity, however may end up hurting them on vote day when voters don’t see “momentum” on the online ballot.

    Patrick’s team seems to be a balance of the two. They call themselves “Team Whelan,” which evokes more of a partnership between the candidates while still reminding voters who the presidential candidate is. Is this the best option? Only time will tell.

    Ultimately whichever team does succeed will likely have an impact on how campaigns are run in the future. This is the defining year for how slates will market themselves in the general election. One this is for sure, with nine candidates vying for election to the biggest roles in the USC, campus will be busier than ever this campaign season. Best of luck to all of the candidates.